Welcome Razib and Ed to the Hive

By Carl Zimmer | March 26, 2010 10:58 am

Today Discover gains two new bloggers: Razib Khan and Ed Yong. But while they’re new to Discover, they’re far from new to the science blogosphere. I’m a long time reader of both of their blogs, and urge everyone to check them out, too. Welcome!

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Comments (18)

  1. thanks for the welcome carl! so who’s the queen? are we haplodiploid, or not?

    [CZ: Didn't they tell you? We're Borg. Your implants should be arriving soon.]

  2. I can feel the embryo squirming inside my brain. Making me do things… write things…

  3. Ugh, jeez, Razib Khan is a huge racist. Here’s him defending Watson:

    4) That being said, Watson is not a racialist, just as W.D. Hamilton was not racialist. He’s just really blunt (or stupid or off his meds depending on how you look at it) and he is offering his opinion on what he believes to be the most parsimonious explanation for the variation he sees in the world out there. Is he wrong? Is he too much of a geneticist so that there is always nail ready for his hammer? Perhaps. I’ve said as much about W.D. Hamilton. Nevertheless, Watson’s views aren’t that exceptional. There are many other biologists who would view Watson’s evaluation of the issues in regards to intergroup differences as reasonable, whether they agree with him or not. Not because they have a particular racialist impulses, but because evolutionary biology implies the plausibility of human variation on a host of traits. Including behavioral and cognitive traits.

    He’s quite explict:

    Razib adds: Racist? God-that-I-don’t-believe-in I’m tired of this crap. I’ve addressed these issues before. I believe in equality before the law. But, I believe different groups probably have different aptitudes (not moral inferiority or superiority)-and the axiom of equality-that all groups have the exact same tendencies as our common evolutionary heritage, could cause serious problems when applied to public policy.

    Disgusting to see Discover give a voice to such a freak.

  4. wren

    Yeah, example, it sure is disappointing to see Discover welcome someone who who writes about the world empirically. And Watson? Jeeze, I can’t even believe that his science is allowed to stand.

    As you say, disgusting.

  5. dave chamberlin

    It promises to be a lively interesting place. I just hope the self righteous trolls don’t overrun the place with their labels and stupid accusations.

  6. Oh yes, the empirical reality that black people are intellectually inferior to whites based on genetics. It’s just science!

  7. wren

    Yes, yes, empirical reality and science. Toss it all out I say!

  8. (FYI, the idea that black people are genetically inferior has as much to do with ‘empirical reality and science ‘ as intelligent design and global warming denial. People do a biased reading of scientific literature to bolster their views, in this case racism. In other cases you see global warming Denalists doing it, or intelligent design advocates, whatever.

    The idea that black people are genetically intellectually inferior is not at all the general scientific consensus. Although racists like Razib, or Charles Murry and Steve Sailer run around trying to claim that is is. But there is nothing scientific about what they are doing)

  9. dave chamberlin

    I know it is pointless to talk to you example, you have fixed opinions and agendas that will never change. You will just come back with more of your crap. But to others I leave this explanation. Many of us love science, the never ending wonder of it, and loathe racism. It was once tantamount to racism to even consider that human evolution had continued past our very beginning as a species. Certainly the brilliant Jared Diamond thought this back in 1993 when he wrote Guns Germs and Steel. But opinions have changed as the evidence of our biodiversity has proven a hundred different ways that evolution has continued up to the present day. To say people are different than each other does not imply the superiority of one over the other. God-I-don’t-believe-in, just give me one blog where the trolls stay under the bridge, where I can listen in on the discussions of real scientists and learn.

  10. Hello, folks. Just a gentle reminder: my comment policy is light but firm. It’s fine to debate issues having to do with genetics, human biology, culture, etc., here, but stick to the issues, and back up what you have to say with evidence. If this comment thread turns a tedious tennis volley of “You’re an idiot”/”You’re dangerous”/”You’re just like those denialists”/”It’s pointless to talk to you,” I will close it.

  11. wren

    Yes, I completetly agree with you example! Science is a consensus-based endeavour, as you say, so white supremacists, such as Razib Khan, should be burned at the stake for such heretical denialist thinking.

    I’m with you!

  12. “But opinions have changed as the evidence of our biodiversity has proven a hundred different ways that evolution has continued up to the present day.”

    dave chamberlin, I’m sorry but the only time I hear the term “Human biodiversity” it’s mostly from racists. For example, the third google search result is Something called the “Human biodiversity Institute” which lists itself thisway:

    The Human Biodiversity Institute is a conservative-run eugenics thinktank headed by Steve Sailer. According to Sailer, “The Human Biodiversity Institute promotes the study of biological differences among humans and their impact on society.

    The whole first page of search results links to either “HBD forums”, or links to Razib or about Steve Sailer (and one book on amazon). Oh, and This blog post discussing how “Human Biodiversity” sounds better then “Racial Realism”, despite meaning the same thing.

    The fact of the matter is that there are people who have been trying to twist science in order to “prove” historical stereotypes, primarily bout black people. Charles Murray has been going on about this stuff for decades. “Human Biodiversity” is just a “science-ized” term (Like “intelligent design”) that’s been chosen by these groups. It’s no surprise that Razib links heavily to people like Sailer (calling him his friend) and Murray (Razib called Murray’s book “Human Achivement” an important work, interviewed him, etc)

    Sailer and Murray are not scientists, and nothing they do is scientific.

    Wren: Science is primarily a consensus based thing, yes. The world is full of crackpots who claim that their idiosyncratic view is the correct one, but in reality things generally become “scientific” when they are generally accepted within their field.

  13. B.B.

    Science is primarily a consensus based thing, yes. The world is full of crackpots who claim that their idiosyncratic view is the correct one, but in reality things generally become “scientific” when they are generally accepted within their field.

    In 1984 Mark Snyderman and Stanley Rothman surveyed 600 experts who specialized in the psychometric measurement of intelligence, which they published their results in their 1990 book The IQ Controversy, the Media, and Public Policy. When they asked the respondents what was the cause of the difference in the black/white average IQ gap, 45% thought it was both genetic and environmental, 15% entirely due to environment, 24% didn’t think there was sufficient data to draw any reasonable conclusion, 14% did not respond to the question, and a mere 1% thought it was entirely genetic.

    Snyderman and Rothmam also contrasted the survey results with the manner in which the popular media covers this subject, which is that it is portrayed that the vast majority of experts believe that such population differences are purely the result of environmental factors.

    Also of note, in 1994 in response to the controversy caused by the release of The Bell Curve, Linda Gottfredson, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Delaware released a public statement signed by 52 experts who specialized in psychometric measurement of intelligence and related fields which agreed that the general findings of Richard Hermstein’s and Charles Murray’s book were in agreement with relevant expert opinion.

    These signatories of Linda Gottfredson’s statemnent were not minor individuals within the scientific field, indeed some of them could arguably be considered amongst the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century. In 2002, Steven J. Haggbloom, et al. attempted to deduce the 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century using 3 quantitative variables and 3 qualitative variables. The quantitative variables were journal citation frequency, introductory psychology textbook citation frequency, and survey response frequency. The qualitative variables were National Academy of Sciences membership, election as American Psychological Association president or receipt of the APA Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award, and surname used as an eponym. The qualitative variables were quantified and combined with the other 3 quantitative variables to produce a composite score that was then used to construct a rank-ordered list of the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century. Paul E. Meehl (ranked 74th), Robert Plomin (71st), Arthur R. Jensen (47th), Raymond B. Cattell (16th) and Hans J Eysenck (13th) were all signatories of Linda Gottfredson’s statement.

  14. B.B.

    The HTML of my previous post didn’t come out right. The first paragraph was supposed to be indented (I guess the INDENT tag is disabled) and the “the 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century” part is supposed to be a hyperlink that goes to http://edtech.tph.wku.edu/~shaggblo/gpr62139.pdf. A comment preview function and a list of what HTML code is permissible to use in comments would making posting here much easier.

    I am new to commenting on this site.

  15. wren

    Thanks for laying out the facts for us example!

    So, just so I’m clear on it all, let me re-cap:

    Razib is a beast since he defends racist scientists like James Watson and has ties to racist non-scientists such as Charles Murray. (Harvard, MIT, cough, cough…)

    Since there are NO differences between the races, people like Razib or Watson who discuss differences are racists.

    Razib Khan’s real motivation must be to show that black people are genetically intellectually inferior thus he is a white supremacist.

    The scientific consensus is that there are NO DIFFERENCES between say, Jews and Blacks and Chinese, and this is scientific because it is “generally accepted within the field.”

    I agree with you, it is disgusting to see Discover give voice to such a freak!

  16. wren

    Wait a minute BB! Are you saying that eminent scientists in the field agree with Murray?

    I thought example said that there was nothing scientific about what he wrote!

  17. dave chamberlin

    I think in hindsight I slammed you a bit too hard Example but I didn’t like your labeling Razib a racist when he is constantly censoring comments on his web site from the crowd he calls the Nutzis. I respect the intellegence of one Steve Sailor but like you I do not trust his motives. Please do not lump people together as thinking the same thoughts just because they are civil with one another. Nobody is automatically a racist because they think the laws of evolution still apply to humans. You are accusing people of serving political agendas when they are specialists in areas of science you almost know nothing about.

  18. Anthrochick

    Example;

    I’m somewhat annoyed at the automatic labelling of anyone who notes any kind of ‘between population ‘ IQ diffrences as a racist.

    FYI, Example, that IQ varies between groups as a result of genetic variation was the current paradigm view of the psychology phd’s quizzed not massively long ago. Those supporting an ‘all environmental’ source for IQ differences scored a low 15%. I suggest you read Linda Gottfriedson’s letter entitled ‘Egalitarian fiction, collective fraud’. The same is true for the ‘no such thing as race’ POV that a few scientists are trying to claim is the current paradigm. You should try talking to physical anthropologists and geneticists in private and you’ll find what they beleive as a group is not what the media tells you they believe.

    I’ve corresponded with a publishing anthropology phd who has confessed to keeping quiet on this subject on the basis that if he speaks out in favour of race as a valid concept and racial differences in cognitive abilities, people like you would either chase off his funding or get him fired. Seems he is quite right.

    Some of his points are:

    You would have to believe the human brain is entirely immune to the forces of natural selection (which would make it unique in the natural world).

    You would have to assume the evolution of the human brain stopped 130,000 years ago when African and non- African populations separated (yes 130k, not the 40k-60k that you see on TV all the time).

    We know recent mutations that affect brain function are common in Europeans and Asians but rare in Africans (see Bruce Lahn’s work)but everyone denies this could affect g for some reason.

    I think you are a prime example of how self righteous trolls mount ad hominem attacks on professionals who display a valid and informed opinion that they just don’t like.

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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